New method for handling political discussion (proposal)

Hi all
The staff team have been discussing how we could best handle political discussion on the forum.
Early on we could see quite clearly that there would be no perfect solution, and we also identified we would need to outline what was required to make this happen in a way that was manageable.

What follows is our ideas, and a draft of the definitions and rules.

Let’s make one thing clear right from the start.
A free for all, anything goes approach, is not acceptable. After all, the site owner is responsible for all content on the site, and we have to consider members who just don’t like politics at all.

Here is the proposal.

[li]Create a sub-forum in the residents lounge where politics and other contentious issues can be freely discussed.

Proposed definitions and rules.

What would be classed as 'political, religious, race related '.

Politics in general.

1: Debate or comment regarding a political system, political party, political leader, or member of a political party.

2: Debate or comment regarding the virtues, or bad points about a law, or party political debate about a possible new law, or scrapping of an existing law is concerned.

3: Debate or comment regarding an act of terrorism, or a terrorist organisation.

Nationality, race, culture, and religion.

1: Debate or comment regarding an act of aggression or appeasement between several countries.

2: Debate or comment regarding the virtues of one race or culture versus another.

3: Debate or comment regarding the virtues of one religion versus another.

The rules.

1: Debates or comments covered in the above (What would be classed as ‘political, religious, race related’) section will only be allowed in the political sub-forum. These topics will not be allowed in any other forum or sub-forum on

We regularly post news items, or a new member may create a thread which may have political overtones. You will be allowed to comment in the forum thread on how this may affect consumers or members, but expect any inappropriate political comment to be edited or deleted without warning. If you feel you need to make a political comment, then create a new thread in the political sub-forum to debate it, preferably with a link to the original thread.

2: Personal insults towards another member, likely to offend, are not allowed.
Example. Inferring another member is somehow stupid for supporting a political party, political leader, or law which is already in place, or is about to be put in place.

3: Be respectful of other cultures, religious groups, and nationalities.
Example. Making a comment such as all people from a particular culture, nation, or religious group are stupid, dumb, or terrorists, would be classed as disrespectful.

4: Be respectful of other members points of view, and use common sense.

5: Don’t excessively argue your point of view. If you have made a comment or statement once in a thread, there should be no need to keep making that same point over and over. However, you will be allowed to elaborate on points you have already made if required. Again, use some common sense.

6: If you’re not into politics, do NOT enter the political sub-forum. We will take a dim view of members deliberately trying to disrupt debates.

7: Leave any grievances you may have during political discussion in the political sub-forum. Do NOT carry those grievances into other forums.

What can you expect from the forum staff?

1: Forum staff should remain neutral. If you feel a member of staff is not being neutral, you should contact DoMiN8ToR. You should not complain about a staff member in a public forum post.

2: If you feel a member of staff has treated you unfairly, you should first raise your concerns with the moderator or admin concerned by PM. If their reply is not to your satisfaction, you should then contact DoMiN8ToR by PM or email.

3: If you breach the rules, then you can expect your post/posts to be edited or deleted without warning.

4: If you continue to breach the rules, you can expect to get a warning via PM, or a sanction, if the moderator feels the breach of rules was severe enough.

Please note:
Any examples used in this document are illustrative only and should NOT be taken to cover the full scope of what is acceptable or unacceptable.

These are not rules, but will hopefully be helpful, and allow the political sub-forum to be a pleasant place for political debate.

1: Try and keep the thread on topic. We will cut you some slack on this, but do keep in mind that many political threads in the past have been closed simply because they became so ‘off topic’ that they were unmanageable. Also, going off topic can be seen as disrespectful to the original thread creator.

2: Remember that different people will have different views. That doesn’t mean that you, or they, are incorrect. It only means they have a different view to yours. Please respect this.

The success or failure of the political sub-forum is mainly down to the members who use it. All we ask is that you keep your temper and emotions in check, and be respectful towards other members.

As always, your opinions and input would be very welcome.

Sounds like good advise and a solution to the debate problem ,hopefully members will agree and try to make it work.It has always been a sore spot and being a sub-forum might help to keep the hecklers at bay.

Just my opinion…so take it for what that’s worth…

with the many different countries represented here, I personally think, that a political or religious or race section should not be a part of this site. Its just going to be a major headache to enforce and just screams flame wars…however its not my call…i think this place has done well without having one…but i’m not management and its up to Domi

We actually thought about that too SS, however we came to the conclusion that it’s also hard to determine what is a political discussion or not. This way we can move it over to a forum where threads that some might consider political and others not, are not directly closed or removed. While the discussion might be moved, there is still room for those who want to be involved to do so.

We are afraid that by not allowing political discussions we’ll get into a debate what’s politics and what not. Obviously when moving threads that’s still debatable, but at least now the thread can remain open as long as it’s according to the rules in it’s own forum.

I’m sure you expected my input in this.

  1. This sub-forum should be in the Living Room instead of the Residents Lounge .
    The new rules & location eliminate input from any newer member of any kind.
    A rule that makes it posible for newer members or even longer members with a low post count to enter the political sub forum. Maybe 50 posts or so would be required to enter.

  2. The rules for the political sub-forum are very close to the rules that are in the Living Room for the whole forum. Now it just restricts these topics to a sub-forum.
    So this new policy didn’t free up these discussions at all.

I know it is a hard to find solution but I don’t care for this one.
If you actually move any thread that gets a political or even racial comment to the sub-forum it will sure get full. If posts are just removed because they violate the new rules there will be a loss of contributing members.

This is my opinion & should be taken as such .
I think it is the management , some of the staff , & a few members that don’t like political ,racial , or national comments . Not the majority of members.

Let me give an example: Any law about the MPAA, RIAA, or similar group in another country falls into the new rules . Am I to understand these will only be in the new sub-forum ?
Or if I understand the new policy will be the artical can be posted but no one can make a political comment about it. That actually makes any comment pro or con towards the law off limits. Because that would be either for or against the political body that passed the law.

I’m not one of those members that is going to go off crying because I didn’t get my way . With a delete my membership request. The reason I would leave is if the forum became so boring that it wasn’t any fun.

So I’m going to see how the new policy is enforced. I haven’t decided if I’m going to complain about any posts that seem to violate the rules or not. That actually goes against the grain for me . What I beleive in is [B]free speech[/B] . I would say more but then my post would be political. Maybe because that is a part of the main law of my nation. I hope that is generic enough.Or course profanity can’t be allowed because this is a family level forum. That’s rarely a problem for me .
For a fairly clean example ; I don’t need to call someone a bastard when I can just suggest it’s time for their parents to get married.
That’s probably more than enough comment from me . I’m waiting to see comments from other members.

It is an extremely complex question. Seems there are two major standpoints:

  1. Promote freedom of speech
  2. Being a computer/CD freeks forum it should not deal with politics.

The proposed solution is the compromise between those two above.
As this Forum has always been much more than a simple PC /CD freek community with a lot of people knowing each other for more than a decade (some even personally), I’d say it would deprive them of the chance to exchange views on all matters, including politics. On the other hand the Staff should bear in mind that members are from different countries, different cultures and different attitudes. And last but not least of different ages. It is an important, a crucial matter. The regulars here belong to the experienced, “seen more than less in life” age category, while the rest is still catching up in this regard with all the manifestations, manners accordingly.
It is a community of people who are close to each other virtually or otherwise and thus shairing almost everything that occupies their thoughts. Let the freedom of this special community remain, otherwise “the restriction” will weaken the magnetism of the Forum.
In order to have the “politics” under control (free of agents provocateurs), I can only agree with the idea that only members with certain amount of posts (min. 50 - Freek or Rookie, I forgot which) should be allowed to participate in the discussion.

Let’s face it! This topic is a hornet’s nest! I certainly respect this solution (roughly): “flowers to the team, for even having the guts to do it”.
It could end up being one hell of a job to manage “suspicious” comments from posts in the living room, however.

@ cholla (this is just an example, and by no means meant as an insult, man, I’d better enclose it with flowers):
When it comes to freedom of speech, well, I’m all for it. It’s just that it’s an illusion created by an industry that embrace stupidity.

3: Debate or comment regarding the virtues of one religion versus another.
Surely only good things will come from such discussions, as it’s commonly known that all of humanity agrees on religious issues! :eek:

Thanks so far Cholla, Ulenspiegel, BeeR_DoG and Dragemeister for your comments, we appreciate it a lot that you took the time to comment on this, I hope others will follow. If you have suggestions to better deal with this, then also don’t forgot to mention them!

I want to stress that I’m very much in favor of freedom of speech, in a sense that I would love to allow as much as possible by law. However running a site with so many people from around the world, so many cultures and personalities has taught me that while it sounds so obvious, even “freedom of speech” is a subjective term. Where some people are hardly hurt from words, others can be deeply insulted by words of others.

I think nobody here has the goal to try to insult others and I think also nobody here would like to limit others in what to say. So the only solution we see is indeed something in the middle.

Please keep your comments coming, as Dee stated, this is our suggestion and while we tried to think about it really well and word it as good as we can, the comments of our members are essential. Obviously we value constructive criticism with possible solutions most!

I think the ground rules are a good effort to start with. i expect them to be tweaked over time as issues are flushed out during use of the new forum. IMO, the most important is Rule #2 and it will be the one most tested. Topics can be debated without personal insult but the people in the debate need to not take all criticism as a personal insult. I have debated enough politics IRL with friends/family and I don’t have an issue sitting down with them and having a meal or playing a round of golf.

Kudos to the management here for trying this new forum and setting rules that seem reasonable. My advice for participants in this new forum is to thicken up their skin and show respect for those who don’t share their point of view. Also, just because a person says you are wrong (and provides reasoning for the statement) doesn’t make such a statement a personal attack.

Managing a forum cannot be an exact science. Discussing how politics is discussed in an online forum can be needlessly political in most places. I don’t think this site lacked a coherent policy. Perhaps some political subjects receive too much attention because this forum no longer has specially motivated posters like alex and spath from Germany and that Dolphin guy from Canada, or the various firmware developers-editors-coders-hackers. What subjects are discussed is less important than what kind of people discuss them. Some people create miracle out of seemingly nothing special, find order out of chaos, and turn fights and spams into productive and contributive records and materials for further thoughts and discussions. I’m against democracy. I’m a monarchist. You’ve always had the means and power to do justice. Whether it’s about managing a forum, discussing politics, or studying history.

The main idea to have a certain kind of control over the political discussions is not merely to avoid online clashes, hurting each others feelings.

The reason is that expressed political views might be against the law (and don’t forget the whole world is represented here with different kind of laws) or there might be someone/anyone who files a case because of a certain post. In this case not the poster, but the site owner is hold responsible. There were cases lately of that kind in Europe.

Is it democracy? No. Is it common sense? No. Still, this is the practice. I hate it and I don’t agree with this modus operandi forced on us in the XXI. century.

Rule #3 pretty much defeats the entire thing. Truth against lies, etc., is not going to be respectful, no matter how gently stated. Why bother?

I have an alternate idea: everyone can only make one post. That way, there can not be an argument. It works for me. -or- just stick to happy things. I was surprised that an entire flame war had come and gone on another thread and I didn’t even know about it. Guess I was too busy having fun.


[QUOTE=BeeR_DoG;2706610]@ cholla (this is just an example, and by no means meant as an insult, man, I’d better enclose it with flowers):
When it comes to freedom of speech, well, I’m all for it. It’s just that it’s an illusion created by an industry that embrace stupidity.

Just being informative BeeR_DoG & giving an answer.
Freedom of speech as a concept in the USA actually began before it was the USA.
I’m going to take it from when it became part of the primary law of the USA . In the first amendment of the US Constitution. That would have been ratified in 1789 . I don’t think there was a great deal of industry creating illusions back then.
I can see where that might apply better today . If you’re talking about the “dog & pony” show the Congress & President put on.

There are two rule # 3’s . I don’t understand this one:

3: Debate or comment regarding an act of terrorism, or a terrorist organisation.

I see no reason there should be any political correctness when discussing this.
I don’t care if I hurt the feelings of a terrorist or any organization they may be affiliated with. If what I say offends someone from the terrorists country too bad .
Why would they defend a terrorist or terrorist organization?
Has any terrorist or terrorist organization actually brought a lawsuit against a web site ?
If they have . Did they win the lawsuit ?

3: Debate or comment regarding an act of terrorism, or a terrorist organisation.

That isn’t a rule cholla, it’s a definition of what we would class as political.

If that forum is strictly moderated,I think that it’s workable.
Only 1 thing to add:while most of us understand the basics of the english language,mistakes will be made.
There are lots of members like me,who don’t speak english as native language .
This means that our replies or threads not always are meant or sound like we post them…

I don’t care if I hurt the feelings of a terrorist or any organization they may be affiliated with.[/QUOTE]

Here’s an example of that: Islam. If someone shows for a fact, right straight from the Quran, that Islam is indeed a terroristic organization, people will be offended.

You can’t have it both ways; you can’t protect feelings AND speak truth at the same time, period. They are mutually-exclusive.

So, what’s the purpose of speaking truth? Why do the moderators want so much to embrace “freedom of speech”, only to turn around and have to muzzle it? And, what satrisfaction will anyone have to say their piece, only to have it censored? It’s very hurtful to be censored, too. It’s every bit as offensive to be squelched as anything hurtful that someone else might say. Take that factor into consideration as well.

So, again I ask, why bother? I guarantee you, you don’t want to give me freedom of speech. I’ve got so much to say, that people don’t like, that I am used to being censored. That’s why I just do it myself. I have been debating for months, particularly lately, about posting my article, “Why I Don’t Vote” here, but I haven’t and won’t. It’s just too strong for “friends” (acquaintances; people here). It just doesn’t belong here (and I ain’t gonna re-write it).

You can have “truth”, or you can have “freedom of speech”, but you can’t have both.:disagree:

And here lies the problem. ‘The truth’ is one sides perspective of the facts. The other side can have a completely different perspective of those same facts.

One sides perspective of a terrorist, is other sides perspective of a freedom fighter.

Freedom of speech is to allow minorities a voice, the concept surely wasn’t designed to give a bully the right to beat someone else into submission, then for the bully to hide behind ‘freedom of speech’. :disagree:

There is no reason why politics cannot be discussed respectfully. In fact when you have to resort or insulting someone, in my view, you have already lost the argument.

[QUOTE=Dee;2706909]Freedom of speech is to allow minorities a voice[/QUOTE] No it isn’t; it’s to allow [U]everyone[/U] a voice… though not necessarily without consequences.

If only minorities were allowed to voice their thoughts and opinions, we would be far, far away from actual freedom.

[QUOTE=Dee;2706847]That isn’t a rule cholla, it’s a definition of what we would class as political.[/QUOTE]
Thanks Dee , I misunderstood & thought that was a limit imposed by the new proposed rules.

[QUOTE=Dee;2706909]And here lies the problem. ‘The truth’ is one sides perspective of the facts. The other side can have a completely different perspective of those same facts.

Actually the “truth is the truth” . Something is either true or is not.

Either sides perspective may try to warp the truth .

One sides perspective of a terrorist, is other sides perspective of a freedom fighter.
This are my best examples ;
I know that the radicals may try to label the 9/11/2001 terrorists as “freedom fighters” . That can’t be defended as the “truth”.
The reason is they can’t site any freedom they gained by doing that terrorist act. Certainly not in the countries the terorists were from . Mainly Saudi Arabia a supposed ally of the USA. So how can citizens of Saudi Arabia be called freedom fighters when they attack an ally of their nation ? The terrorists certainly didn’t do any such attacks on Saudi Arabia their own nation. So the truth of that is they were terrorists.

When the citizens of the British colony that became the USA were being taxed without representation . As well as other acts of taking away freedoms by what at that time was their government. They eventually attacked the military & supporters of the British Empire .
All of that was done on the soil or nearby waters of where they actually lived . When they had achieved the freedoms they were after they ceased the declared war. The nation they warred against (the British Empire) was no longer attacked by them. There was another war to reestablish that in 1812. After that the two nations became allies. & have been so since. Those citizens can be called “freedom fighters”.

Freedom of speech is to allow minorities a voice, the concept surely wasn’t designed to give a bully the right to beat someone else into submission, then for the bully to hide behind ‘freedom of speech’. :disagree:

I have to go with DrageMester’s post on this.
To add an example :
Are the members of Congress or Parliment in the UK to be limited in their “freedom of speech” because they are at least supposed to represent the will of the majority ?
Freedom of speech was put in place by the majority . If it ceases to be for the majority you can be sure it will cease for the minorities.
That is also a truth.
Freedom of speech is exactly that . It is either free or it’s not. There is no in between.
I always see this sited so I’m going to adress it here:
You don’t have the freedom of speech to shout “FIRE” at a crowded event. Actually you do. There has been prosecution for the damages done by a person doing that . Sometimes there are consequences for using the freedom of speech.
To add to that most people recognize that when someone does that it’s not done to exercise their freedom of speech . It is done for whatever perverted reason they have for doing it. It is not for the “good” of the majority or even the minority.